Green economy
Green economy

Lead agencies: UNEP
Cooperating agencies: FAO, ILO, IMO, UN Regional Commissions, UNCTAD, UN-DESA, UNDP, UNESCO, UN-HABITAT, UNIDO, WFP, WHO, WIPO, WMO, World Bank, WTO, CBD and UNFCCC


The financial and global crisis has pushed millions of people into poverty, especially the most vulnerable in the developing world. This is happening amidst the ongoing food, water, energy, ecosystem and climate crisis. Together, these crises are undermining the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and setting back development progress of the past few decades.

Policy responses to the crisis need to address imbalances that characterized earlier growth strategies with their focus on investing in output expansion to the neglect of building up natural, human and social capital. In the search for new investment programmes to both kick-start growth in the short term and support inclusive sustainable development in the long term, climate-and environment friendly economic policies and approaches can be a major tool in their recovery toolkit.

The Green Economy Initiative (GEI) responds to the development challenges and imbalances in growth strategies that underlie the global financial and economic crisis by motivating policymakers in all countries to give green investments sufficient space in their counter-cyclical policies and thus reduce the threat of further food, water, energy, ecosystem and climate crises, which have disproportionate impacts on the poor.

The Initiative aims to demonstrate that investing in green sectors – such as energy efficient technologies, renewable energy, public transport, sustainable agriculture, environment friendly tourism, and sustainable management of natural resources including ecosystems and biodiversity – has a better chance to bring about recovery and sustainable growth, increase competitiveness, save and create jobs, improve the quality and decency of jobs, and reduce poverty, while tackling acute environmental problems.

It also aims to identify the policy and institutional framework that is needed to support rather than undermine such investments and the greening of economic growth in all countries, taking into account national and regional conditions, special characteristics, capacities and needs.